Cooper sets Glenavon on way to emphatic win at Carrick

Glenavon's Joel Cooper tormented the Carrick defence in Tuesday night's 5-1 defeat at Taylor's Avenue. Photos: Presseye
Glenavon's Joel Cooper tormented the Carrick defence in Tuesday night's 5-1 defeat at Taylor's Avenue. Photos: Presseye

A blistering display from Glenavon saw them canter to a an easy 5-1 win at Carrick Rangers on Tuesday night.

The foundation of this excellent win was laid in the first half as the visitors built up a 3-0 goal lead.

They kept up the tempo in the second half to secure three points that moves them three clear of fourth placed Coleraine.

With just two minutes on the clock a ball over the top fell to Eoin Bradley who slipped inside his marker before going down in the box, but referee Ross Dunlop waved play on.

Carrick then threatened with an Adam Salley right wing cross which sailed past the Glenavon defence but the lurking Aaron Traynor could not reach it.

Glenavon took the lead on six minutes with Kevin Braniff flicking the ball into the box, the ball was half cleared to Joe Cooper who drove a low shot to the right of Brian Neeson and into the net.

Carrick tried to respond with Salley going close and then Brian McCaul got in behind the Glenavon back line but skied his shot over the bar.

The Lurgan Blues always looked keen to move the ball forward quickly and they were certainly making the home defence work hard.

After Braniff’s looping cross dropped inches away from the goal the away fans were soon celebrating a second goal on 24 minutes.

Cooper this time turned provider as his centre came off Danny Wallace allowing Bradley time to drive a right foot shot past the Carrick keeper.

The visitors were well on top now and should have increased their lead on 36 minutes when Marshall ran on to a header by Cooper, his cross was met by Ciaran Martyn whose shot came back off the bar and in the scramble Braniff too was denied by the bar.

However the third goal duly arrived on 43 minutes after Cooper’s brilliant burst and shot won a corner which Braniff delivered and Conor Dillon powered home from a yard out.

Any hope of Carrick making any inroads into the Glenavon lead after the restart were well and truly dashed with two goals in three minutes. After Cooper was chopped down by Doyle at the edge of the box Braniff made it 4-0 with his curling free kick going in despite the attempted save of Neeson.

The cheers had hardly died down when Martyn stabbed the ball home from close in after a neat but back by Kearns.

The chances continued to flow with Kearns seeing his shot deflect away from goal after a fine break by sub Mark Patton who had just replaced Cooper. Then Dillon clipped the top of the bar with a glancing header.

Mark Patton came on for Cooper, Fabio replaced Bradley and 15-year-old Alex McIlmail replaced Kelly as the visitors remained on top.

McIlmail nearly made it six but his effort flew inches wide before Carrick pulled a goal back on 76 minutes through sub Miguel Chines.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Sykes, McGrory, Braniff, Kearns, Martyn.

Subs: Lindsay, Patton, O’Brien, Hamilton, McIlmail.